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The emotional landscape of accessing and navigating formal supports for older adults in one Western Canadian city

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Emotions may be pivotal to understanding how fragmented care systems for older adults can generate structural carer burden. Analysing 78 interviews with 32 carers who navigated formal services in a Western Canadian city, we explore and distinguish between emotional responses to navigation challenges and the emotion work that navigation entails. Emotional responses had a temporal dimension, and, at times, both positive and negative emotions coexisted simultaneously. Symbolic and normative understandings of interactions with providers, and of ‘caring well’, shaped emotion work throughout navigation. Discussion focuses on how broader contexts, through emotional processes, indirectly contribute to carer stress and strain.
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Keywords: caregiver strain; emotion work; family caregiving; system navigation

Affiliations: University of Manitoba, Canada

Appeared or available online: August 9, 2019

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